Because life is like an essay

Posted on January 1, 2011

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Lest it be pointless, an essay should follow a clear and focused thesis statement. Shouldn’t this be the case with life as well?

In the beginning of his classic ‘Spiritual Exercises,’ the founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius of Loyola, articulates what I consider a thesis statement of life. It is clear and logical, and befits its subject matter — us — because we could not have been created for anything less.

As in a good essay, all the other things in life are but supporting details.

Principle and Foundation

We are created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by these means to achieve eternal well-being.

Everything in the world is to help us toward our eternal well-being. If something helps us, we should use it; and if it hinders us, we shouldn’t.

We must not care about external things, like health or sickness, wealth or poverty, fame or obscurity, a long life or a short one.

We should want only what we were created for.

— St. Ignatius of Loyola, as paraphrased by Tim Muldoon in ‘The Ignatian Workout’

 May we all have a meaningful year ahead!

*The Prayer for Generosity, also written by St. Ignatius of Loyola

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